Episode 4 Wild Tales


Episode 4

Documentary series. As Bill and Ben's family pick up the pieces in the wake of the buffalo attack, it's time for the growing cubs to make new friends and learn to hunt.


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The world is full of amazing animal families.

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Tales of life and death happen every day.

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For the youngest members, growing up's tough, really tough.

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These stories recreate their rollercoaster life -

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here on Wild Tales.

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We're following the stories of three fantastic animal characters.

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Bill and Ben are two young lion cubs learning that

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not everything is what it seems, and they end up in deep water.

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Eli the elephant's finding out that life's a real pain,

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and his sister Ebony can't even trust her neighbours.

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Whilst Selkie is changing into something a bit more suitable

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as he comes towards the end of his beach time.

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So where shall we head first?

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Hold on tight.

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First stop is the east African savannah.

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Last time on Wild Tales,

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Bill and Ben's family were under attack from an angry mob of buffalo.

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Our stars were in real danger of being trampled to death.

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Did they make it?

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An uneasy silence hangs over the battlefield.

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There's no sign of Bill or Ben.

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The pride has been scattered far and wide,

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and the buffalo leave the battlefield

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content with their day's work.

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Dad Notch bellows out a colossal roar.

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He wants the pride back together.

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Not far away, Bill and Ben are back with Mum.

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The brothers and a couple of smaller cubs have survived unscathed.

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Amazingly, mum Bibi saved them.

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But buffalo do kill lions

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and, not surprisingly, there are some casualties.

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Even the adults haven't escaped unharmed.

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One of the smallest cubs is missing,

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so the family return to the crime scene.

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It's not long before they find her, but sadly it's too late.

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More than 50% of lion cubs don't make it into adulthood -

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and this could easily have been Bill or Ben.

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Growing up out here in the savannah is extremely tough.

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There will always be battles to overcome.

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At times like this, Bill and Ben's family

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need to regroup and stick together.

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And Notch needs to prove to the rest of the savannah crowd

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he's still boss.

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200 miles further south is the Amboseli game reserve.

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Last time on Wild Tales,

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we left Eli's family celebrating the arrival of his sister, Ebony.

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Eli realised he was not the only apple of Mum's eye.

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He was going to have to grow up fast and learn to find food for himself.

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There's mum Ella and, as usual, Eli is by her side.

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He's still sticking close. But where's Ebony?

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Aha! Even closer!

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She'll grow up strong

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and fast as it's now Ebony, not Eli, who gets to have all of Mum's milk.

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Now Eli has to find his own grub,

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he's lucky that the rainy season has brought an abundance of food.

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And liquid refreshment.

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This fantastic feast is just what he needs.

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These swamps play a big part in a young elephant's life.

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It's a great place to socialise, quench your thirst and generally

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splish and splosh about having fun!

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Elephants can slurp up to an incredible 200 litres a day.

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That's like drinking 400 bottles of Coke!

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This luscious swamp will be a great place for Ebony

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to test out her water wings.

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Eli almost drowned crossing a river when he was Ebony's age.

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But it looks like his sister was born for swamp life.

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She's definitely won the "learning to snorkel" contest.

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By hanging out with Mum and watching the rest of the family,

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Ebony can learn how to breathe through her trunk

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if the water gets a little too deep.

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And soon she'll be able to feed on the succulent plants

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on the water's edge, like the rest of the herd.

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And just like Eli's doing.

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He'll end up with tummy ache if he's not careful.

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And without Mum to keep him in line, this could spell trouble.

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But Mum's just too busy with Ebony at the moment.

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There's no time to rest.

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The herd are off again and, even with legs as short as hers,

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she'll be expected to keep up!

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4,500 miles north in freezing Scotland.

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Last time on Wild Tales, we left Selkie feeling

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the full effects of a huge storm.

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Mum was at the other end of the beach and Selkie was in danger

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of suffocating under a sand blanket.

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Did he manage to tunnel his way out and find Mum?

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The day after the night before, and the beach is like a disaster zone.

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The storm was so fierce that many mums and pups have been separated

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and are busy looking for each other.

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Did Selkie manage to find Mum?

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Well, this little one's on her own, and her mum still hasn't found her.

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But Selkie and Mum must have bumped into each other in the night.

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That thick layer of blubber saw him through the storm.

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With a bit of luck, the other pups will be found by their mums soon.

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Selkie only feeds every six hours now,

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but after being on his own for nearly a day, he must be starving!

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However, Scottish storms aren't bad news for all the neighbours.

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Not far away, an unusual group of treasure hunters

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are busy scouring the beach for goodies thrown up by the storm.

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Like this kelp - a type of seaweed,

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which these red deer find absolutely delicious.

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It's full of goodness from the sea,

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but unlike Selkie, these lot won't get the chance to live out there.

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He's certainly not cut out for life on land, which is just as well,

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because Mum's milk won't last forever,

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and she hasn't eaten for three weeks.

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So it won't be long before she'll have to go out to sea

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to do a spot of fishing herself,

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and that means leaving Selkie for good.

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So, for now, he'd better make the most of Mum's free meals,

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and stock up for a life on his own.

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Bill and Ben's family are still recovering from the buffalo attack,

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and are lying low in some bushes having a well-deserved snooze.

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Bill just won't leave his mum's side,

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and he certainly wants all the attention. Ben?

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Well, as usual, he's putting his head in places where he shouldn't.

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Dad Notch is busy marking his territory.

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It's his pride, and he wants everyone to know about it.

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He can't be in more than one place at a time

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so he leaves a little bit of himself behind wherever he goes.

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Male lions spray bushes throughout their home

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with their own personal aftershave.

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These whiffy beacons act as no-entry signs to warn off any intruders

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who fancy their chances.

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Dads even rub their feet in it,

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and their footprints leave a smelly trail behind them.

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Lions across the savannah do just the same thing.

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So if you're new to the area, you know who's the king of each family,

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and more importantly, which home is up for grabs.

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So Bill and Ben's territory is really worth protecting.

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And here's why.

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There's a constant supply of water,

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so all the animals have to come and drink here.

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That means Bill and Ben's family never have to look further than

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their front door to find food.

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The surrounding trees and bushes

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provide the family with shade during the hottest part of the day,

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and they also provide cover,

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so the family can see prey, without prey seeing them.

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So it's really not a bad place to grow up.

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Bill and Ben, you don't know how lucky you are.

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The brothers will eventually have to leave this territory

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and find one of their own.

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But, for now they've got the best bodyguards in the area,

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giving them time to go and explore their ultimate home.

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Eli's herd has left the swamp for pastures new,

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to graze on more juicy grass and flavoursome foliage from the

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savannah's all-you-can-eat salad bar.

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They can travel 60km a day to reach their favourite spots.

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That's a long way on foot.

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Looking at Eli, let's hope they aren't wandering that far today.

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Maybe all that overeating has taken its toll.

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Who knows what he's been munching on?

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It could even have been something poisonous.

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It can't be easy carrying two tones of weight on those legs, especially

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when you're feeling that ill.

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Eli could really do with his mum's help and support now,

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but how can mum Ella manage a newborn baby and Eli?

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Ebony is so small that Mum must stick close by her,

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and Eli's doing his best to keep up.

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But Mum's not giving in.

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Her milk is completely out of bounds for Eli, even if he is ill.

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It's not easy being a mum of two.

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She's going to have to make sure that both Ebony and Eli can keep up.

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Especially when they start to meet other families,

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cos getting lost in a jumbo crowd would be a disaster.

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Hopefully, staying with the herd isn't too much of a struggle for Eli.

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Back in Scotland, Selkie's drinking the last of Mum's milk.

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Although he doesn't realise it yet.

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Better drink up!

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Thanks to Selkie and all the other seal pups here,

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the beach is starting to look like a mass of heaving blubber.

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In just under three weeks, the pups have tripled in size.

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They aren't much longer than when they were born.

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Their weight has gone sideways.

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This may be great for the pups, but not for the mums.

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Selkie's mum has lost 65kg in just three weeks.

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That is extreme dieting!

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She's poured all her energy into

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fattening up our star for his life at sea.

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Seals can't run on empty and, all along the beach,

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mums have no choice but to leave their pups

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and return to the open ocean.

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And they won't be coming back.

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The youngsters can't follow,

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because they would freeze to death in the cold Scottish waters.

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They've got to wait for their waterproof fur to grow through

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before they leave the beach.

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Poor Selkie's about to lose his mum for good,

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and he doesn't even know it.

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This is his last goodbye.

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And suddenly, at only 18 days old, Selkie is on his own for good.

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Imagine that!

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Dawn is breaking on a new day in Bill and Ben's kingdom.

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When you're young, there's nothing better than exploring the garden,

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so our terrible two and their friends

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have wandered off to find some new mates.

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But their choice of buddy is less than ideal.

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It's a hippopotamus.

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These four-tonne barrels of brawn can run as fast as a racehorse,

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and have teeth that can puncture metal.

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Hardly suitable playmates,

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but it looks like Bill's about to force this friendship.

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Hippos out of water are about as dangerous as it gets.

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Our explorer could be in real trouble.

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In the nick of time, he loses his lion's courage

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and retreats fast to the rest of the gang.

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And the hippo lumbers back into the marsh.

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As if by magic, the strange beast slips underground.

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So, Bill and Ben try their hand at some bird-watching.

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These jacanas seem to walk on water - and they're intriguing

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the brothers and their cousins.

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Well, they are more their size,

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and this has got to be worth investigating.

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He wasn't expecting that!

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Cats aren't very good at doggy paddle,

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and Bill's gotta get out in case that hippo gets too close.

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How embarrassing - and in front of all his friends.

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Bill looks like a drowned cat!

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He won't be doing that again in a hurry.

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Back in Amboseli, and Eli is still trailing at the back of the herd.

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He looks like he's on the mend, though,

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thanks to support from the rest of the family.

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At four years old, he still needs a helping hand - occasionally.

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Unlike the youngest member of the herd.

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Eli's sister Ebony is going from strength to strength.

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She's having a whale of a time.

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She's turning into a real tough cookie - not afraid of anything.

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Mum's milk is like rocket fuel.

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It gives her so much energy

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that sometimes even Mum finds her hard to control.

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She's becoming a real handful.

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So much so that she's in danger of getting herself in some big trouble.

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After all, she's only tiny, and the herd is always on the move.

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But Ebony can't have fun all the time.

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With the herd moving on, she needs to keep up.

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Oops! This is where family really counts.

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Ebony's aunts are on hand to help her up.

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But not all elephants are this kind and helpful.

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Ebony could easily bump into another herd,

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and some of them may not be so friendly.

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She needs to stick like glue to Mum as her family move on.

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Bill and Ben have returned from their friend-making expedition

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and realized they're safer with their own sort.

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Bill's recovered from his swim and, for now,

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he's staying put in the shade.

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But the pride hasn't eaten for days.

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These are some seriously hungry mothers.

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And they're top of their game.

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They've got zebras in their sights.

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But Ben's a bit too interested,

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as Team Simba disappear into the grass on a mission.

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This is hide-and-seek, lion style,

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and the team use every last blade of grass.

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Each lioness has a job to do.

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They have to get as close as they can without being spotted.

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But they haven't spotted Ben.

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Well, he's got to learn sometime.

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Our star is just copying Mum.

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The adults creep closer and closer until they're just within reach.

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Only the best can pick out a target through this stripy mass.

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But Ben just can't work it out.

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It's so confusing.

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He's spotted Mum in the grass and, with the trap set,

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it's a waiting game.

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They can't move a muscle or the zebra will be gone in a flash.

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But Ben wants a better look.

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He's got to stay put -

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but he's still moving.

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Ben's blown the Simba family's cover,

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but he's gonna give it a go anyway.

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There's more chance of the zebra dying of laughter

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than Ben catching them.

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He's gonna be one seriously unpopular pussycat!

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He should have stayed at home with Bill.

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Selkie's finally getting used to life without Mum,

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and he's nearly ready to leave the beach for his new home at sea.

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But before he does, he must go through a process called moulting.

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This is when seal pups shed their baby white fur for something...

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a little more fashionable.

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And it's time to get on the catwalk.

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This season's colours appear to be grey with a hint of cream,

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and black spots.

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There is no need to be fitted for this new outfit.

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It comes made to measure - a seal-shaped wetsuit!

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It'll keep him a lot warmer,

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and is especially waterproof for spending months at sea.

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All the other seal pups are doing the same.

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It's been one hairy journey.

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This is the last hurdle they have to jump before they hit the open ocean.

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Now these lot can truly be called grey seals.

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Their life on land is almost over.

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Selkie really has changed beyond all recognition.

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He looks all grown up. He's now got to pluck up the courage

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to go down to the water's edge and say goodbye to this beach for ever.

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It's just a matter of time now.

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Eli and Ebony's herd have arrived at the best feeding grounds in the area.

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The plains are full of different elephant families,

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all taking advantage of the lush grass.

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Eli's so full he can hardly move.

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But where's Ebony?

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She has wandered off to another elephant family.

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And she's making friends with an elly her own age.

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But she's just too young to be away from Mum.

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What is she doing talking to strangers?

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Ebony needs to go home - but the new herd are blocking her in.

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She's trapped in a prison of legs and trunks.

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And without Mum's milk, she can't possibly survive.

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No-one will feed her in this family.

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Back with Eli and the herd, Mum's noticed Ebony's missing.

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She calls the rest of the family to the front line.

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And the rescue mission begins immediately.

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But will they get there in time?

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Even if they do, will Ebony get out of this mess alive?

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Next time on Wild Tales -

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will Ebony survive the biggest rugby scrum in Africa

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as mum Ella tries to steal her back from her jumbo kidnappers?

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How will Bill and Ben cope with teenage life in the big wide world,

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and a new arrival in their family?

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And what will Selkie make of the open ocean?

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Plenty out there would like him...

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for breakfast.

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Find out next time on Wild Tales.

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Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

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E-mail [email protected]

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Documentary series. As Bill and Ben's family pick up the pieces in the wake of the buffalo attack, it's time for the growing cubs to make new friends and learn to hunt - but nothing seems to go to plan. Eli's new sister Ebony is going great guns, but she's so confident that she gets herself in real trouble with another family. Eli has his fair share of gripes when he eats something he shouldn't.


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